Online Trade of Vrindavan’s holy dust angers Brajwasis

(Vrindavan Today News) – Online Trade of Vrindavan’s holy dust angers Brajwasis

2024.06.12 (Vrindavan Today News): The Braj activists have expressed their anger against the online sale of Braj-raj, the holy dust of Vrindavan. The protests are being held in different levels against the commercialization of the holy dust of Vrindavan. Some activists are preparing to take legal action against those online companies engaged in this business. There have been reports that the major online stores like Amazone, are selling the holy dust for prices ranging from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 3500 per kilogram.

Gone are the days when one had to take the arduous task of travelling far and wide to seek the blessings of saints and immerse in the dust of Vrindavan. In modern e- commerce times, where everything is being delivered right on our doorstep, this could not be left off the list of things. Some great minds have taken this task to bring the ‘ Braj Raj ‘ wherever we are putting up for a meagre price of three hundred rupees per hundred gram . The sacred Raj that took solace in living under the feet of saints has become a commodity too, to be packed and sold online. Are we moving forward or falling backwards, is left to the reader’s discernment.

The Brajwasis took on to the social media and claimed that Krishna’s divine play has made this dust invaluable, and were appalled to know that now its granules are being traded for dollars internationally.

Every day, thousands of devotees visit Braj – Vrindavan, driven by the faith of immersing themselves in the sacred dust (Braj Raj). Each particle of Vrindavan is believed to be imbued with the presence of Lord Krishna. Many sages and devotees have performed penance for years, desiring to merge with this holy dust. Devotees consider themselves blessed by applying this sacred dust to their foreheads.

“The sanctity of Braj Raj can’t be packaged and dispatched . One may receive a packet of sand, devoid of the fragrance that encapsulates us when we walk barefoot on it for parikrama or sit by Yamuna ji  and the cool breeze bring this raj, showers us from head to toe, or when we roll over in it in the temple compounds. That fragrance would never be found in an Amazon parcel . That is the real purifying essence of this Braj Raj. The holy dust might be the same but its expression in our consciousness wouldn’t be,” said Shri Sevananda Brahmachari, a local sadhu.

In Vrindavan, over 800 factories produce items related to Lord Krishna. As faith and devotion reach new heights, the online trade of religious items has surged. This includes the online sale of Vrindavan’s sacred dust. On Amazon, Shrihit Radha Enterprises is selling two packets of Vrindavan dust for 320 rupees, with each packet weighing 100 grams.

Similarly, a store named on Amazon is selling a 100-gram packet for 355 rupees, with an EMI option available. At Shri Krishna Store, 100 grams of Vrindavan dust is priced at 121 rupees. It  is also being sold at Rs. 40  per 100 grams in Various stores on other online platforms like IndiaMART and Meesho are also trading this holy dust.  The online descriptions highlight its use in daily rituals and worship.

The spiritual significance of Braj Raj, often celebrated in social media posts showing devotees rolling in the sacred dust during their visits. Many still undertake the Govardhan and Vrindavan parikrama (circumambulation) while lying down. Daily scenes of devotees applying the sacred dust on their bodies at Ramanreti are common. However, the commercialization of this sacred dust has angered many devotees.

Shri Purushottam Sharma, a local brajwasi said,”Development is imperative but the cost is equally relevant , and  has to be contemplated before we put the plans in execution. Without being rooted in our culture , development becomes mere materialism , a matter of sales and profits . and it is a responsibility of every person in their role of a producer, distributor or a consumer.”

“On the verge of having lost the major part of Vrindavan to builders and construction projects at a rapid rate , turning it into a concrete van , vandalising the forests and centuries old structures , we must reflect and save the rest of it to the best of our efforts.  New structures are being raised as temples , much bigger in grandeur and facade, no more than a tourist and eating hub. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say  that they are malls disguised as temples,” added Sharma.

Dr. B.K. Nangia, the editor of Harinam magazine felt very disturbed when he was informed that the Braj is being sold online. He said “This is the holy land of Sri Krishna , Radharani and their troupes of sakhas and sakhis. These groves, trees, alleys, yamuna ji and raj are extremely dear to them and hold the testimony to their pleasurable playful pastimes , the shelter and tapobhumi of rasik saints for hundreds of years. It was their life and soul, many laid down their lives to save them from barbarians. Today’s situation is the same ,  if not more dire as the ravagers are profit suckers who can go to any length of manipulations. When everything is wiped out of Vrindavan , what will be left except for the skeleton of steel and cement structures.”

He further insisted, “Let’s take some considerate steps to save the land and forests of our beloved Radha and Shyamsundar, it will be the greatest service to them and to our acharyas . Else the day is not far when hundred grams of raj will cost us in dollars and we will forever be colonised by this capitalisation.”

PC: Govardhan Das

In 2021, there was significant outrage among saints when Govardhan Shila (sacred stones from Govardhan Hill) was being sold online. A protest and FIR were lodged at Govardhan police station. IndiaMART listed the stones at Rs. 5175 by Lakshmi Divine Article Store, which was removed after the backlash. Several prominent saints had also warned of dire consequences if the Govardhan Shila was taken out of Braj.

Read Full Story at Vrindavan Today


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